When it comes to Christmas dinner, the pressure makes it tempting to head to the most expensive supermarket to ensure a good feast. But if you’re on a budget, it’s good to know where you can cut corners – with your finances rather than with the taste.
So after extensive trial and error – here’s what you should splurge on, come Christmas Day, and what you can save your pennies on.
Firstly there are a few things worth making yourself. And while you should splurge on the ingredients, the DIY approach will save you money overall (and make your dinner taste nicer).
Here’s what to make yourself:
Pigs in blankets. Pork does tend to be of a better quality the more you pay for it, especially when it comes to sausages and bacon – the essentials for pigs in blankets. Get really good quality of both and make your own.
Gravy. This is super easy to make yourself and will, again, taste way nicer. Using the juices from your bird will meant the gravy will add a lovely, intense turkey flavour to your whole dinner.
Stuffing. This is made from sausage meat (in case you didn’t know) so it’s worth getting good quality stuff. Use fresh herbs to get a really intense flavour and you will never go back to Paxo.
Carrots and parsnips. These aren’t too expensive anyway, but it’s definitely worth going organic here. You can absolutely taste the difference with these root vegetables, as the mass-produced versions are usually tasteless and a waste of time.
Red wine. There’s no point making a delicious dinner and washing it down with vinegary wine. It’s worth doing some research (and perhaps a taste test…!) but if you still want to keep the cost down, a good tip is actually to buy supermarket own brand.
Of course, we don’t mean Basics. But if the supermarket is putting its name on the bottle, it’s because its experts are happy to do so, so you tend to get higher quality without paying a higher price. Try Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference range, or Tesco Finest.
Potatoes. These are so covered in gravy and duck fat that it doesn’t really matter what kind you get, if we’re honest. It’s all in the cooking, so just make sure you do them proud.
The turkey. Sacré bleu! The bird itself! Actually, in most taste tests, people can’t tell the difference between high end and budget birds and here’s where you can make your biggest savings without anyone noticing. Plus, Christmas dinner’s all about the accoutrements, right?
Champers. Another controversial one. Sure, get a bottle of Verve for elevenses sipping, but if you’re guzzling it all day, you’re better off buying bulk supermarket-own brand. particularly if you’ll be making your own Bucksfizz. The difference in taste is nominal (particularly after you’ve had a few) but the price jump is huge.
Sprouts. Let’s face it, they’re only there for show anyway. To give yourself a break this Christmas, get frozen ones to avoid all that peeling.
Got any great money saving Christmas tips? Let us know over @YahooStyleUK.